Husky Hoops Is On To The Postseason

Can the Huskies win some hardware? (Dawgman.com)

Husky Hoops is still alive! Washington will travel to BYU Tuesday to play the Cougars at 6:30 pm PT on ESPN as part of the National Invitation Tournament first round action. Washington, ranked as the No. 6 seed, would play the winner of Tennessee-Mercer if they win in Provo.

"It's kind of weird to explain because we certainly didn't have a year where we were playing every game and we were very consistent where we expected to be in the NCAA Tournament," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said of this year's Selection Sunday for the Huskies. "However, down the stretch we began to play better, and up until our last game we thought that we were doing a better job and we certainly had our chances. So it can be bittersweet in that regard; however we were our own worst enemy up to this point."

The Huskies (18-15, 9-9) travel to Utah as BYU (21-11, 10-6 in the West Coast Conference) prepares to even the score the last time the two teams faced off in Provo. This will be the 19th meeting between BYU and Washington with the Huskies holding a 10-8 advantage in the series. The last meeting between the schools was on Dec. 9, 1997, in Provo. Washington won 83-68. Washington and BYU are 4-4 all-time when UW plays in Provo.

"They are very up-tempo and we'll know a lot more in the next 24 hours, but they are very up-tempo," Romar said of BYU. "They are led by Brandon Davies and Tyler Haws, who are exceptional offensive players. They are a tough team and very good at home."

Haws, a sophomore from Alpine, Utah, led the Cougars in scoring, averaging over 20 points a game. Davies, a 6-foot-9 center from Provo, averaged nearly 18 points and 8 rebounds a game. Both Haws and Davies were First Team All-WCC picks in 2012-13.

This will be BYU's 11th appearance in the NIT. The Cougars have a 12-8 record in the tournament, including titles in 1951 and 1966. Washington has played in the NIT seven times and have compiled a 6-6 overall record.

You don't have to go very far to find the Huskies' best performance in the NIT - last season. They managed to win three games, including a 90-86 win over Oregon to propel them to Madison Square Garden - where they eventually lost 68-67 in overtime to Minnesota.

"Last year our guys weren't ready to play the first game," Romar said of UW's 2012 NIT experience. "We didn't play very well. I don't think we were prepared to play in the NIT Tournament in terms of our mind; it was tough for us to overcome that we weren't in the NCAA Tournament after winning the league."

He added that by the middle of the second game versus Northwestern the team embraced being in the NIT. "I think this year, knowing who our opponent is - BYU - and playing there, our guys will embrace it a lot sooner," said Romar.

The Huskies come into the NIT as a number-six seed, but Romar wasn't sure UW was going to be in the tournament at all. "I knew we weren't going to be in the NCAA Tournament; we were hopeful that we would get a bid for the NIT, but we weren't sure," he said. "I thought it was 50/50 going in, so I'd say it's more excitement for our guys - especially our seniors - to be able to continue to play."

To view the entire 2013 NIT Bracket, click on the link below (.pdf file)

2013 NIT Bracket
Washington Player Quotes (courtesy UW Media Relations):

C.J. Wilcox:
What was this day like for you? Were you confident? Nervous?
I was confident that we were going to get in. I wasn't too worried about it.

When you saw BYU pop up on the screen what was your initial reaction?
I actually called it two days ago that we would be playing at their place, so I wasn't too shocked. I was shocked that it actually happened but I was ready for it I guess.

Are you close to anybody on that team?
Yes. I played AAU with Tyler Haws and pretty much the whole team was my rival high school team.

What are your thoughts on returning home?
It will be good to see some people, but as far as playing I know it's going to be pretty hyped from their side of things.

What kind of crowd are you expecting to see there?
A pretty big crowd – knowing that I'm coming home again and that I'll be playing Haws again, there were a lot of battles between us in high school. It will be pretty big.
Scott Suggs:
What are your thoughts on continuing your college career?
I'm just excited to be able to keep playing. I wish things would have turned out differently in the Pac-12 tournament but nonetheless we're able to keep playing. We have another chance to win something.

Were you nervous coming in to today?
Yeah. I didn't know if we were going to make it. There were a lot of good teams that didn't make the (NCAA) tournament that we knew were going to be in this. Fortunately we were selected.

At this stage does it matter who you are playing or where you are playing?
It doesn't matter who we play. Where ever we go we will be prepared to play our hardest. I'm just excited to get another opportunity to play.

Do you know anything about BYU?
I've seen them play a few times. Haws is one of their main guys and they have Carlos Delfino. A few of the guys know him.
Abdul Gaddy:
What are your initial thoughts on continuing your career?
We live to play another day. We're just going to have to go out there and play hard and continue keep on going.

Does it matter right now who the opponent is or where you are playing?
The point is to just keep playing – home or away. It does not make any difference. I just want to keep my career going as long as possible.

Any thoughts on BYU?
It's C.J.'s hometown. That's all I know and that he'll be glad to play them.

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